Evan Turner killed it on Sunday night. The numbers: 20 points (on 9-15 shooting), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 memorable moment after a frantic sequence, and 1 undeniably endearing postgame soundbite.
It was a great watch. Sure, he made some mistakes – a few botched defensive possessions, a couple of turnovers, and one airball I’d like to forget – but this game was exactly what Sixers fans were waiting for. He made aggressive moves and quick decisions, just like he did when dominating at Ohio State. It was what we could easily call a breakout performance, but we won’t.
Turner followed this up by scoring 10 points on 3-8 shooting last night. He started strong, hitting a corner three, a midrange jumper off a hard dribble to his right, and a second midrange J after a spin that made Clark Kellogg exclaim, “My goodness!” But after taking a flagrant foul from Dahntay Jones, he basically disappeared. He played meaningful minutes in a good win, but those minutes felt nothing like those he played on Sunday. And that’s okay.
This Pacers game reminds us that Evan is still a rookie, one who was correctly described as “shamefully gun shy” in December. And while it would be convenient to see modest showings like this eliminated rather than limited, it’s rewarding to catch a few flashes of brilliance before brilliance becomes the norm.
We should celebrate inspiring games and promising stretches. We should cherish all the firsts in bright young careers. But if we believe our guy’s got stardom in him, we should treat each impressive night as evidence, not proof, that he’s going to let it out.